Sept 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka will soon be exporting rice to African nations under a directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the country has become self-sufficient in rice.
Addressing a food security meeting at the Temple Trees on Wednesday, President Rajapaksa has asked the relevant authorities to formulate a programme to export extra rice stocks to some African countries whose leaders have expressed interest in purchasing rice from Sri Lanka when he met them on the sidelines of the United Nations 66th General Assembly sessions in New York.
Sri Lanka has already exported 250 metric tons of rice to Kenya from a stock in the Food commissioner’s Department store in Veyangoda. This is the first consignment of rice exported to Kenya by Sri Lanka.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal trade Sunil S. Sirisena says the country has become self-sufficient in rice under the Mahinda Chinthana programme.
Provision of the fertilizer subsidy, the government’s programme of protecting the farmers, and providing a fixed price for paddy, have contributed for the increase in rice production, the Secretary pointed out.
Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of exporting rice to several other African countries and Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia in the future.
The President has also instructed the representatives of the Food Security and Cost of Living Committee to keep prices of commodities in check and ensure adequate supplies of essential food items for the forthcoming holiday season.
Senior Minister S.B. Nawinna, Ministers Basil Rajapaksa. Rajitha Senaratne, Johnston Fernando and Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Deputy Minister Geethanjana Gunawardena have also participated in the meeting.